|MARIAN HOSSA To join Crosby line|
Battling a crowded field atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins added another big scoring threat to their explosive offense, acquiring forward Marian Hossa from the Atlanta Thrashers before the NHL trade deadline expired yesterday.
With Toronto's Mats Sundin off the market after refusing to waive his no-trade clause, Hossa was the biggest name available at the deadline. Hossa is a five-time All-Star right wing who has 26 goals and 30 assists in 60 games this season after finishing tied for sixth in the NHL with 100 points last season.
The Penguins paid a big price to get a player who will become a free agent July 1, dealing two of their top forwards, Colby Armstrong and Eric Christensen, plus 2007 first-round draft choice Angelo Esposito and a future first-round pick. Pittsburgh also gets forward Pascal Dupuis, a right wing who has 10 goals and five assists in 62 games.
In a separate trade, the Penguins acquired former Bruins defenseman Hal Gill from Toronto for second- and fifth-round draft picks.
The 29-year-old Hossa is expected to go onto Sidney Crosby's line once the 2007 NHL scoring champion and MVP returns from a high ankle sprain that has sidelined him since Jan. 18. Crosby probably won't return until next week at the earliest.
"We've always had a hard time finding that fit for Sid, and I believe Marian is a guy who can think at that level, skate at that level, and obviously, he can score goals and kill penalties and raise everybody else's game," Penguins general manager Ray Shero said.
Hossa couldn't hide his excitement at joining the Penguins, a team that he said "has so much talent, it's almost scary."
Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Hossa give the Penguins three of the league's premier scorers. Malkin leads the league in scoring with 84 points.
"Pittsburgh kind of snuck in the back door there. I'm not sure anyone even thought they were an option," Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren said. "All along we kept hearing it was between Montreal and Ottawa. It was a very bold move by Ray Shero."
But the trade deprives Pittsburgh of two of the younger players it was building around in the 25-year-old Armstrong and the 24-year-old Christensen.
Christensen has nine goals and 11 assists in 49 games and is 5 for 8 on shootout attempts. Armstrong, Crosby's road roommate and one of the Penguins' most popular players, has played on Crosby's line during stretches this season and has nine goals and 15 assists in 54 games.
The Dallas Stars made the boldest shakeup in the Western Conference, getting center Brad Richards from Tampa Bay in a five-player deal that should add offense and playoff moxie for a team that hasn't advanced past the first round since 2003.
The Stars gave up backup goalie Mike Smith, forwards Jussi Jokinen and Jeff Halpern, and a fourth-round pick next year for Richards and starting Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist.
Richards, MVP of the playoffs when the Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004, was Tampa Bay's fourth-leading scorer with 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists) in 62 games.
In other notable deals completed before yesterday's deadline:
All-Star defenseman Brian Campbell - a solid two-way player - was traded by the Buffalo Sabres to the San Jose Sharks for right wing Steve Bernier and a first-round pick in this year's draft.
The Washington Capitals set out to help their bid to make the playoffs with a flurry of deals, adding center Sergei Fedorov and goalie Cristobal Huet. Washington got the 38-year-old Fedorov, the 1994 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP, from the Columbus Blue Jackets for defenseman Theo Ruth, who was a 2007 second-round draft pick. The Capitals also picked up Huet, a 2007 All-Star, from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2009 second-round draft pick. Washington also got forward Matt Cooke from the Canucks.
The Detroit Red Wings acquired former Bruins defenseman Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings for two draft picks, adding depth to their injury-depleted blue line. Detroit gave up a second-round pick this year and a fourth-round selection next year. The physical Stuart had five goals and 16 assists for Los Angeles this season.
The New York Islanders traded troubled forward Chris Simon to the Minnesota Wild for a sixth-round pick in this year's draft. Simon missed 35 games this season while serving a pair of long suspensions handed down because of on-ice incidents. The Islanders also dealt defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Anaheim Ducks for a third-round choice in the 2008 draft.
For the second time in two days, Colorado brought back a player from its glory days. The Avalanche acquired Adam Foote, 36, from the Blue Jackets for conditional first- and fourth-round draft choices, a day after the Avalanche agreed to terms on a deal that brought 2003 NHL MVP Peter Forsberg back to Denver for the rest of the season.
The Nashville Predators, clinging to the final playoff spot in the West, acquired left wing Jan Hlavac from the Lightning and former Bruins right wing Brandon Bochenski from the Anaheim Ducks for future considerations.
The Chicago Blackhawks sent former Bruins right wing Martin Lapointe to the Ottawa Senators for a sixth-round draft choice.